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The Return of the Rocketeer: “Don’t mind if I do…”

Finheads’ rejoice! The ‘hood ornament’ returns with a killer concept, crew, and David Oyelowo!

Hey, bean! Raise your hand if your trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios isn’t complete without visiting Peavey’s Frozen Concoctions near “Echo Lake” or The Rocketeer footprints in front of “The Chinese Theater.”

Can’t wait to return to Peaveys! Image: John Bishop

Yeah, me too, kitty cat. Me too.

But look here. It says in Deadline, “Disney is reviving a cult classic favorite, The Rocketeer, with an all-new Disney+ movie entitled The Return of the Rocketeer which David and Jessica Oyelowo are producing under their Yoruba Saxon banner. The project, written by Ed Ricourt, will also be a possible starring project for The Selma actor.”

Dig it, daddy-o. We’re in fat city as ‘The Rocketeer’ will soon deliver a knuckle sandwich to some baddies, all the while in pursuit of some classy chassis.

“Art Deco, very nice.” Image: Disney.

Anthony D’Alessandro had the exclusive scoop:

The Return of the Rocketeer will have an all-new creative directive with Ricourt’s story focusing on a retired Tuskegee airman who takes up the mantle of the Rocketeer.

In all seriousness, this film could really take the legend of the Rocketeer to the next level; far beyond its current kiddie cartoon.

Let’s face it, the original is a cult classic and never came close to launching a franchise. And, there are a lot of reasons why it didn’t.

The Rocketeer: A Cult Classic

On the occasion of the Disney film’s 25th anniversary, Forbes’ Scott Mendelson wrote:

The Rocketeer, Billy Campbell
Billy Campbell. Image: IMDB.

[Tim Burton’s] Batman plays a lot like a 1930’s/1940’s hard-boiled detective movie, especially during its first act. So it’s not that surprising that Hollywood reacted to its success by making a bunch of 1930’s/1940’s pulp action movies that were at least somewhat supposed to remind audiences of the Dark Knight blockbuster. The Rocketeer sits alongside Dick Tracy, Universal’s The Shadow, and Paramount/ Viacom Inc.’s The Phantom as failed attempts to recapture that lightning in a bottle.

Also, although I eventually sought out the collected comic books of Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens, I must agree with Mendelson that at the time “Billy Campbell was not a star while Jennifer Connelly and Timothy Dalton were at-best names without really being openers.

Timothy Dalton and Jennifer Connelly. Image: IMDB.

Meanwhile, “The source material was something that 0.001% of the American populace had ever heard of…”

A Legendary Character

However, that is not the case now.

Today, the original movie is a bonified cult classic; available on Disney+ alongside another overlooked film, Red Tails, a Lucasfilm production about the Tuskeegee airmen.

Oh, by the way, did you know David Oyelowo starred in Red Tails as fighter pilot Joe ‘Lightning’ Little.

David Oyelowo, Red Tails. Image: IMDB

How is that for synergy?

Anyway, kids. What if this is a true sequel. And Billy Campbell, Cliff Secord himself — perhaps injured in World War II — hands-off “the rocket” to one of the Tuskegee Airmen, a true hero to take up the rocket pack (perhaps with the help of Peavy, played, of course, by Alan Arkin).

There is a story to tell there, my friends; with a whole half-century post World War II to explore. Moreover, the idea that the hero could be an African American during the 50s and 60s makes this more than a sequel.

I call dibs on that flick, nerds.

The Rocketeer
Image: John Bishop

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